Preaching About Family Submission

Preaching About Family Submission

We are in a series of posts that are intended to give you material to do a series of messages about family.  Here’s the first in the series.  In this post we will explore preaching about family submission in your church.   Here’s a good story to begin with.  I got this from  It’s found in a sermon by Brian Bill.

“I heard about what happened at a golden wedding anniversary party for a couple. The husband was very moved by the occasion and wanted to share his feelings with his wife. She was hard of hearing, however, and often misunderstood what he said. With many family members and friends gathered around, he toasted her and said, “My dear wife, after 50 years I’ve found you tried and true!”

Everyone clapped and cheered for them, but his wife looked irritated and asked, “What did you say?” So he repeated it again, this time with more volume: “AFTER 50 YEARS, I’VE FOUND YOU TRIED AND TRUE!”

The wife, now visibly upset, shouted back, “Well, let me tell you something – after 50 years I’m TIRED OF YOU, TOO!”

It’s easy for married couples to get tired of each other by settling into predictable routines where both spouses stop listening and loving.”

How do you make sure that doesn’t happen to you in the marriages in your church?  One way is to understand the concept of submission.

Where Do We Learn About Submission?

The major passage about family is in Ephesians 5:

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

What Does It Mean To Submit?

In the present generation people don’t talk about submitting much.  Rather, we talk about self-realization, becoming all that we can be, etc.  But in the New Testament the word submission is a concept that describes how we relate to each other.  This is true for all relationships in the body.  That’s why this section begins with the statement: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

But that brings up a challenge, doesn’t it?  What does it mean to submit?  Does this mean that I must live my life as a doormat, always yielding to others, especially to my spouse?

The word “submit” literally means to put yourself under.  It describes something of the ranking that exists in the armed forces.  A private is ranked under a corporal.  The corporal is ranked under the sergeant, and on up to general.  So, to submit means that I subject my priorities and desires to someone else.  In this case, I do this for my spouse.   When preaching about family submission, this is where you start.

Different Roles But Family Submission

When you are preaching about family submission, point out to your people that the idea of submission applies equally to husband and wife.  This passage has been used to put women down.  That is not the point here.  The idea here is that husbands and wives both practice submitting.  There is a commitment to serve each other.

True confession: I have some narcissistic tendencies.  I like to focus in most situations how I will be affected by various choices and plans.  My life changed in a time of marriage tension in my own life that I dedicated myself to serve my wife.  Whenever possible, I would try to meet her desires, and encourage her in her dreams.  This was radical for me, but I found that my attitude changed in that I enjoyed her pleasure in going on for further education.  I felt happy when she expressed happiness.  I especially enjoyed those moments when I could step in and meet a need that would relieve stress for her.

This is the point when preaching about family submission in your church–to bring people to fulfillment in their marriage.

Here is another explanation from Andy Stanley.